Friday 24 November 2017

Leaving Certificate: Heisenberg theory put to the test

Bryan Cranston as Walter White in 'Breaking Bad'.
Bryan Cranston as Walter White in 'Breaking Bad'.

FANS of 'Breaking Bad' probably reacted well to the appearance of Heisenberg on the higher-level paper.

However, the question had nothing to do with the fictional chemist in the popular TV series, but rather required candidates to define the late German theoretical physicist's Uncertainty Principle.

There was general agreement by teachers that this was a nice paper.

Ciara O'Shea, from St Attracta's Community School, Tubbercurry, and the Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland (ASTI), described it as "lovely".

Martina Audley, of Yeats College, Galway, said it was "fair and well-structured" with no surprises in Section A.

She said Section B will have rewarded the hard-working student, although some may have found Question 7 a little tricky.

Tara Lyons, of the Institute of Education, agreed that it was "a manageable paper that students should be pleased with overall".

She praised the "helpful diagrams" in the Section A question on the preparation of soap and said there was good choice in Section B with organic chemistry and atomic theory well represented.

Among the topical notes on the paper was Google's recent symbol using the Bohr model of the atom as the letter 'O'.

The growing world population featured in relation to air pollution levels and their contribution to acid rain, although Ms Lyons said the "usual" water question was not there in any major form which some students may have missed, she thought.

Ms O'Shea said the ordinary level was as also very nice, with lots of choice.

Irish Independent

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